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Considerations when upgrading from V41 or V43
Long time user (15-20 yrs?), I have been avoiding the "next" upgrade for several years for various reasons (hate change, fave add-ons go away, hate change, not broke-don't fix, hate change...). But I am now running into a few websites that won't permit this browser, so it may be time to move on. With heavy adblocking and tracker-blocking and my benign web browsing habits, I've not been concerned about security (never had a virus in 20 years - knock wood). It's just full functionality and slowness at this point. At this point, I see even my Classic Theme Restorer is no longer available, so I'll just have to bite the bullet on aesthetics and deal with a modern browser. However, a couple of things are unclear:
1. does 20 years of bookmark history (and remembered history) affect memory footprint. I only refer to existing bookmarks occasionally these days and may consider a full purge. Partial purge would probably be too time-consuming. Maybe even a full profile purge might be worthwhile for a true clean slate. Maybe FF has come a long way and old extensions and settings won't be necessary. I also have several about: settings that I may (or may not?) miss.
2. Are automatic updates unavoidable in newer versions? I read about "manual" but it sounded temporary.
3. The permissions on many potential add-ons I've looked at are quite unnerving... e.g many of them require full access to ALL my data (usernames and passwords!!!) and I know the function has no need for such. Who has time to investigate these fully for safety? Is there any anti-malware vetting required for add-ons to be available?
4. I know newer is generally faster, but FF has a history of growing and slowing down after upgrades. My hardware isn't getting any newer (although its more than ample for my current needs), but software tends to be developed on latest and greatest hardware. How does latest FF compare to circa V41 in memory usage?
In any case, I thought I would give the latest vesion a whirl on my old Vista laptop (which is currently at V43) and check it out before plunging in on my W7 work PC or home PC. Any answers or insight into such a big jump are much appreciated.
Note that it is best to use the Firefox updater and do a check for updates until you reach the current Firefox release. That way to make sure to run special upgrade code (updating from Firefox 56 to 57 is such a special situation; Firefox 57 no longer supports Legacy extensions).Read this answer in context 👍 0
All Replies (20)
I am still using v54 because I refuse to give up my add-ons.
While many things were removed from Firefox in prior versions, others have written add-ons that restored what was removed.
But Quantum broke those making them useless. So, no more updating for me.
The more I read about latest versions features and explored add-ins available to me, I was feeling very confident and felt the benefits outweighed the risks. So I upgraded my laptop FF. However, sadly I could NOT update to the latest version because my laptop is Vista which is no longer supported. The best I could get was 52.9. Even more sadly, a handful of add-ons I really really really depend on, were not available for V52. And because V43 was the last version where unsigned add-ons were allowed (with a special config setting), I am now between a rock and a hard place. Good thing is that I don't use that laptop very often.
As far as look and feel changes, (lost classic theme restorer), its not great, but perhaps I will get used to the aesthetic differences or find add-ons to help out. Historically I know the less add-ons the better, so I'm coming around to giving it a shot. I think performance was better. I will have to explore more. Maybe less add-ons is contributing.
My next attempt at a full upgrade will be on my work W7 PC computer (also at V43 now). In that environment, I'm not vested in so many add-ons and requirements. I think (hope?) the benefits will outweigh the pain.
To those still using outdated firefox that is "use at your own risk" security risk. If you want protection using the latest version is the choice to be had here. If the addons no longer is valid that isn't the fault of Mozilla. They have to protect their own Browser from security holes provided by the addons that are no longer support by the addon developer. If you want to insure working firefox 57+ the best is backup bookmarks then downloaded the latest version matching your O/S bit version 64 to 64 and then uninstall all firefox and deleting the mozilla folder and doing a clean install. This way you avoid corrupted file issues that could leak to memory leaks or worse non functional Browser. But then again use old version and risk security holes in the Browser and Security holes in the addons.
Thanks for your input, but you didn't catch that my O/S is Vista and V52 highest FF available.
I think that in Firefox 52 ESR you should still be able to install unsigned extensions via this pref:
- xpinstall.signatures.required = false
Good to know. For some reason I thought that flag was not going to be functioning after V43. It was already set in my profile, but stupidly, I removed all the add-ons that were taking advantage of it before upgrading!!! I should have just disabled them. what a dummy!
Although, having said that, I think why I did it was because I was curious what FF would look like bare bones. I was naively assuming that some basic features might be builtin by now. Nope.
I have an old pre-2015 profile with oodles of add-ons (many that I no longer use) and I gave V52.ESR a shot with that flag set. Every one of my addons was available to me! I know I can move them over to my current profile somehow, but at this point, not worth the effort. That laptop is practically just a test machine. I don't use it enough to warrant any more effort.
Maybe I'll give those other browsers mentioned in that article a shot. Good read.
Now that I think about it, I have a question about profiles. I have four directories:
.default .defaultBACKUP .profilenew .profilenewBACKUP
Did FF make the backups when I created the new profile (2015) or did I? Can I just restore from .profilenewBACKUP to easily capture all my old add-ons? Does "restore" just mean rename and rerun?
If I do, I may lose some profile tweaks I've made over 3 years, if any, but that may be preferable.
No, Firefox didn't create those Profile suffixes. The original Profile would have been named .default, but new and DEFAULT would be user generated names - Firefox wouldn't suggest such names. When a new Profile is created, (considering default has been used by default), the Profile Manager will ask for the "name" of the new Profile and will offer the option to rename any existing Profiles.
There is no restore feature for Profiles built into Firefox, it is a manual operation that requires care to not change the Profile name that the new Firefox installation uses. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/back-and-restore-information-firefox-profiles#w_restoring-to-a-different-location
Yes, you will lose some tweaks / customizations. There were some fairly big changes between Firefox 43 and Firefox ESR 52, so that depends upon the tweaks you made.
Overall - what do you want to do as far as version number?
Firefox 52 ESR is an old unsupported version; Firefox 65 is the current release version which works well in Windows 7.
And "legacy" extensions (add-ons) for versions prior to Firefox 57 are gone from the Addons.Mozilla.Org website, so any extensions that you might need to replace would need to be obtained from a different (non-official) website, such as this one: http://legacycollector.org/firefox-addons/ Not going to be easy to find (there's no search function) and only the last version of each seems to be available.
Overall, it is my opinion that you would be better off with the latest Firefox 65 and basically starting from scratch with extensions and "restore" the user data from your old Profile.
edmeister - my intent *was* to start from scratch at latest version... but because I have Vista O/S, V52.9 was the latest version I could install. This put me between a rock and a hard place for add-ons.
I don't think you got my profile restore question. I am currently using ProfileNew but all my old addons were stupidly removed. If I rename that to ProfileNewNoAddons and then simply rename ProfileNewBACKUP to ProfileNewWithAddons, can I use that?
In 2015 I created ProfileNew when I was troubleshooting something with .default (I forget what that problem was). The directory ProfileNewBACKUP has a date-time stamp of 4/1/2015, so all my old add-ons should be there (that I removed from ProfileNew prior to upgrade to V52). Will a simple rename do the trick or is there additional under-the-cover work to do?
That legacy addon place might be another way to go.. Good tip!
What a HUGE disappointment... The upgrade from 43 to 65 is complete on my work PC and it was a huge disaster. I never should have done it. Not only did I lose add-ons as expected, I forgot about a critical one IE TAB 2. And I could not identify a reasonable replacement for it. (I will try legacy but no guarantees it will work). I expected the look-and-feel stuff to be rough, but it was ridiculous. It is amazing to me that the base product is so bare-bones by default. It doesn't do anything remotely normal with bookmarks and tabs and navigation. What a disappointment.
But the HUGE HUGE HUGE disappointment/anger/frustration was the next day when I started up, ALL MY BOOKMARKS and HISTORY was gone!
Now Firefox is USELESS to me.. Well, I have passwords and form info, but that is it.
For a business environment this is so unacceptable for a mainstream software product. Bad on me for not backing up stuff, but I never would have dreamed it would destroy everything. I did a system restore hoping it might get my profile back, but it is gone gone gone.
I could not do my job today without stumbling on every single thing I attempted to do. What a horrible experience!
If you update from an old Firefox version then best is to use the update function in Firefox and repeat that until you are on the current release. There are some 'watershed' releases that have migration code for specific data files. If you update directly from 43 to 65 then you miss these migrations. It is possible that legacy extensions you had in Firefox 43 aren't compatible with Firefox 52.
No excuse for wiping out my bookmarks
Shouldn't have to know how to repair the car to drive the car
Sorry that you had a problem, but it surprises me that you lost your bookmarks. There have been minor changes to many bookmarks related files in the last couple of years, but IMO nothing that would have caused the entire loss of bookmarks.
Did you try to recover any of the old bookmarks backup files that are created in Firefox going back many, many years? https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/restore-bookmarks-from-backup-or-move-them
Basically, you should have inquired here as how to handle such a drastic update before proceeding to jump from Fx 41 / 43 to Firefox 65.
I tried to recover bookmarks per that article and they were listed (happy), but could not be restored (sad). Got an error "Unable to process the backup file".
I searched for "bookmark*" in appdata and I found them. see pics. I was surprised to see them in "roaming". Usually stuff is in Local, isn't it? But I've never really bothered to learn the difference since Local/Low/Roaming were invented.
Can I manually move one to the desired spot?
However, hard to figure out where the target spot is. The current profile (or installation?) is a mess. I can't save any bookmarks. I can't create any history. It's more useless than I thought. very very sad.
I thought my post title did convey the big jump.... Didn't know it was jumping off a cliff! Seems like just yesterday I begrudgingly upgraded to V43. It doesn't seem that old to me.
The "unable to process the backup file" error message usually means that the places.sqlite database file is corrupted. To check places.sqlite you can use "Verify Integrity" button on the "Help -> Troubleshooting Information" (about:support) page. In case errors are reported close and restart Firefox and retry "Verify Integrity" and see if you can restore a JSON backup.
If "Verify Integrity" button on the "Help -> Troubleshooting Information" (about:support) page cannot repair places.sqlite then remove all places.sqlite files in the Firefox profile folder. Firefox will rebuild places.sqlite and restore the bookmarks from a recent JSON backup in the bookmarkbackups folder.
- keep a backup copy of places.sqlite in case a new places.sqlite database has to be created
You can use the button on the "Help -> Troubleshooting Information" (about:support) page to go to the current Firefox profile folder or use the about:profiles page.
- Help -> Troubleshooting Information -> Profile Directory:
Windows: Show Folder; Linux: Open Directory; Mac: Show in Finder
"Old" is relative - Firefox 43 dates to Dec 15, 2015; only 3 years ago, but with the changes made to Firefox in the last 3 years that's a lot of time, IMO.
Don't take this the wrong way, but those backup files don't have many bookmarks at all to worry about losing. I have over 2500 in each of 3 different Profiles that I use almost everyday, And I have seem mention in this fora of having 10,000-plus bookmarks from a few Firefox users. The _52, _53, and _54 numbers (after the date in the file name) which are the in the file names are the number of bookmarks each of those files contain. If you did have a lot more than ~50 bookmarks in the past, those may just be lost.
There is a utility application on this page - https://www.jeffersonscher.com/ffu/bookbackreader.html - that can read those .jsonlz4 files and give you an HTML export format which can easily be imported into Firefox. I suggest that you use that utility to extract your bookmarks and then Import the resulting file into your current Firefox version.
Manually moving bookmarks is difficult / impossible with the .jsonlz4 as the files are compressed and aren't "human readable". IMO, the "best" and simplest is the HTML format; not really "readable", but the file will display in a web browser and is usable; and HTML files can be Imported and will append to any existing bookmarks.
Thanks, I'm feeling hopeful again. Great pointers.
It would be awesome if I could get bookmarks back (not many @ work, but very critical ones) and extra awesome if browsing history came back too. I don't work again until Monday. Looking forward to trying out those tips on work PC.
I don't think I restarted PC since the System Restore. That would be great if that solved everything.
p.s. I remember bookmarks.html with fondness... I used to cart that file around all over the place. so simple.
... p.s. I remember bookmarks.html with fondness... I used to cart that file around all over the place. so simple.
Yes, bookmarks.html file was simple, but 'back in the day' many users had issues with speed when over 2000 bookmarks were saved. It was very inefficient and once the favicons were added to that file by Mozilla in Firefox 0.9 (2004) the file size multiplied ten-fold plus. Whereas the basic HTML data might be 250kb for a couple thousand bookmarks, with the favicon data added the file size would grow to 2.5Mb when only half the bookmarks even had a usable favicon. And that was without the animated favicons which gained popularity back in those days.
Here's another tip that might be helpful in the future. In about:config if you set browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML to true Firefox will create and automatically update the legacy bookmarks.html file.
"You can have your cake and eat it, too."
so far, no go.
reboot didn't change anything... no old or new bookmarks available
verify integrity button not present on V43 (I do not think I should upgrade again until this round of problems straightened out)
manually I can verify places is not read-only. and it had a last modified date-timestamp of the last time I closed FF last Thursday. I would love to know if my old stuff is in there or not before I trash it.
bookmark.html converter didn't work. error: File name: bookmarks-2019-01-30_52_FHKBCRFoXhQNLtETr3nKog==.jsonlz4; Size: 6883; last modified Invalid Date'
I am about to delete the apparently useless places.sqlite in hopes I can at least start saving new bookmarks/history, but critical question before I do:
Worse than losing bookmarks would be losing form info & passwords. Are those safe someplace else other than places.sqlite?
back in business!!! woo-hoo!!!
I was reading one of those articles about places.sqlite and I read that generating a new one will also restore last bookmark backup!!
I can actually get my work done now. Will still have to customize a bit and get some legacy extensions in place, but shouldn't be too bad. Remembered history via auto-complete is sad to lose, but it was getting cluttered with a lot of obsolete links so building that up fresh may be beneficial.
IETab2 not working yet and that was a critical one I am sad to lose but I'll be working on it.
Thanks for all your help.